William Barber was born on November 30, 1919, in West Liberty, Kentucky. He died on April 19, 2002.


Editor’s Note:  Voice of OC is honoring some of Orange County’s most notable veterans with profiles. We thank these people, other veterans and those serving today for their dedication and service to our country.


Act of Congress, 3 March 1863, has awarded the Medal of Honor to

Captain William E. Barber

United States Marine Corps

Citation: Captain William E. Barber for conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commander officer of company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein) in, action against aggressor forces on 28 November to 2 December 1950 at the Chosin Reservoir Area, Korea.

Assigned to defend a mountain pass along the main supply line and commanding the only route from Yudam Ni to Hagaru-ri. Capt. Barber took up defensive positions with his troops and dug in.

When a force of regimental strength attacked during the night, inflicting heavy casualties and finally surrounding his position, Capt. Barber gave assurance that he could hold if supplied by airdrop, and requested to stand fast when ordered by radio to fight their way back to a relieving force.

He chose to risk the loss of his command rather than sacrifice more men if the enemy forced a renewed battle, or abandon his many wounded who were unable to walk. Although severely wounded in his leg, he continued to maintain personal control, often moving along the line on the stretcher, encouraging and inspiring his men.

Waging battle throughout 5 days and 6 nights repelling fanatical aggressors, his command accounted for over 1000 enemy dead. His personal courage, valor, and fortitude were decisive factors in the successful withdrawal of the division from the Chosin Reservoir and reflect the highest credit upon Capt. Barber and the United States Naval Service.

Orange County Walk of Honor by AMVETS

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More about William Barber:

Photo courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, March 2006
Photo courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, March 2006

Notable Orange County Veterans:

1st Lieutenant Kenneth A. Walsh, Medal of Honor: World War II Fighter Ace

Captain Nelson M. Holderman, Medal of Honor:  World War I Hero

Corporal Tibor Rubin, Medal of Honor: Korean War – 1st Cavalry Division

Lance Corporal Kenneth L. Worley, Medal of Honor: Gave His Life for his Country

Lieutenant (J. G.) Donald A. Gary, Medal of Honor: Officer on The USS Franklin in Japan

Master-At-Arms Second Class Michael A. Monsoor, Medal of Honor: Navy Seal Dies While Saving His Comrades

PFC Clarence B. Craft, Medal of Honor: Hastened the End of the Campaign on Okinawa

Sergeant Chris Carr, Medal of Honor: WWII Hero Battled in Italy

Specialist Fourth Class John P. Baca, Medal of Honor: Vietnam Vet Protects His Troops

Staff Sergeant Walter D. Ehlers, Medal of Honor: Stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day

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